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mygif

I agree, but I still don’t trust Zack Snyder. They probably ARE Kryptonite handcuffs or something.

…Actually that doesn’t inherently invalidate my point, but still.

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mygif

My larger complaint about the costume isn’t the brieflessness, but the fact that it looks like a Halloween costume, and not a very good one. Whoever designed his foam rubber abs should be fired.

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mygif

I recall an episode of Lois and Clark where some scientist claimed that Superman’s powers were damaging the environment or something, so Metropolis passed a law against him using his powers in the city limits. The first or second act break is Superman, at the press conference where the law is announced, using his powers to stop a plot-convenient crazy shooter from killing the mayor. Immediately after that, he surrenders himself to the police.

As that summary suggests, most of the episode was incredibly stupid, but I believed that bit was in character for Superman.

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mygif

You’re absolutely right about handcuffs, MGK. My concern is that Henry Cavill looks more like Patrick Bateman than Kal-El in that shot.

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LashLightning said on December 4th, 2012 at 11:28 am

Has there ever been a story about someone trying to sue Superman after he’s brought them in? Or do courts just let him do near anything because it’s ultimately for the common good?

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mygif

Instead, Superman is an ongoing morality play, where every question he must pose himself is “is this the right thing for me to do?”

Yes. This. Superman is all about power and responsibility. This is why he doesn’t just grab Luthor and drop him into an active volcano – because there are laws. And Superman must follow the law. (And this is why the one part of Superman Returns that rings the most hollow to me is the idea that Luthor was let out of jail because Superman wasn’t there to testify against him. That bit is more improbable than anything in the rest of the movie.)

This would be an obvious setup for the “Superman is locked in handcuffs – something happens to show that he’s innocent – he breaks that handcuffs to save someone’s life, thus showing he could have gotten out of them at any time” scene.

I hadn’t even heard the nerdrage about this yet. Probably because anyone stupid enough to bring it up with me knows they would have gotten an earful.

(Still doesn’t make me trust Zack Snyder tho.)

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mygif

What would be the point of suing him?

As far as the general public knows, Superman doesn’t have a secret identity. They think he’s Superman all the time, and as far as they know, he has no assets besides the cape on his back.

I’m sure if someone did sue him, he’d gladly show up in court, and maybe someone wants to use discovery against him, but you won’t find much, really.

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mygif

The handcuffs don’t bother me at all. The boring and bleak costume bothers me, as does the completely unnecessary lens flare.

They’re trying OH SO HARD to make Superman into the next Dark Knight. That’s what worries me about this film. Not every superhero is dark, angsty, and defined by their problems with authority.

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mygif

I agree with most everything people said, in that:

a) Superman’s costume is not great.
b) Superman is handcuffs is at best a possible teaser that Snyder knows what he’s doing, and at worst something to think about.
c) Superman is not Batman. He does not need to be dark, or gritty. If this is what Snyder tries to do he will be doing it wrong.

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mygif

I know that unless I hear so truly miraculous things about it, I won’t be seeing Man of Steel because I still feel actively guilty for paying money to see Sucker Punch.

But there does seem to be this odd phenomena where writers who traditionally write macho power fantasies and anti-authority screeds seem to “get” Superman, most famously Garth Ennis. Maybe because they’re fundamentally angry that people aren’t Superman or something.

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MonkeyWithTypewriter said on December 4th, 2012 at 12:10 pm

It’s because Superman is a safe authority, and most people with that much power would not be safe. Me? Luthor into the volcano. Then I’d start in on Gotham.

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Sean D. Martin said on December 4th, 2012 at 12:16 pm

and as far as they know, he has no assets besides the cape on his back.

I’m sure if someone did sue him,

… it wouldn’t be a problem if he lost. There’s this thing he can do with a lump of coal….

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Sean D. Martin said on December 4th, 2012 at 12:17 pm

a) Superman’s costume is not great.

Agreed. It’ looks like the muscles are the costume’s, not Superman’s.

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SilverHammerMan said on December 4th, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I haven’t seen any real venom directed at it so far, though my own reaction was to kind of sigh. It’s not that I think Superman wouldn’t let himself get cuffed because he could totally beat up the military or something, it’s that I genuinely don’t care that much for stories where Superman is distrusted by the guvmint. It makes sense of course, but I’ve seen it an awful lot and it gets boring after the first few times.
As for the costume, I don’t care for the material, but I do like that they didn’t use that awful awful nehru collar that Jim Lee gave him. And I totally hate Superman without the briefs, but I don’t think they’re absolutely necessary to the design. One thing I’ve notice with a lot of the Superman fan redesigns where they take away the briefs is that they replace them with something new to give him a visual balance. A stripe along the leg, a two-tone look for the body suit, anything to balance it out, really, makes it look a lot better. So it seems pretty weird to me that the professional designed costume DCU gave him looks so incomplete. Also, really doesn’t help matter that Supes barely has a belt with this costume, his body just looks like a vast expanse of blue.

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mygif

It seems clear to me they aren’t even pretending those are his real abs. They look too stylized for that. And this worries me, because it implies there is something special about the suit, and… no. That can’t be good.

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mygif

Superman is not Batman. He does not need to be dark, or gritty.

… most of Superman’s greatest stories have been pitch fucking black.

Seriously. I don’t get why people don’t realize that. It’s always “oh, Superman shouldn’t be dark or gritty” but then something like ‘Whatever Happened to the Man of Tommorrow?’ comes out and everyone is ‘OMG SO GOOD.’

Dude is an orphan on alien planet with a powerset that is, basically, designed to completely isolate him from everyone around him, and in many versions of his continuity his adoptive family dies shortly after he leaves. There’s room for stories where he punches giant robots until they fall over, but Superman is about nothing BUT pathos usually.

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Cookie McCool said on December 4th, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I for one would like to see a light and fluffy Superman where he maybe plays Superman Salon and uses his heat ray to give ladies fabulous blow-outs and there is an awful lot of hair-brushing and manicures and pedicures and giggling about supervillains’ tacky costumes. There may also be a charming little bakery attached to the salon where Lois can make cookies because she is a terrible journalist anyway.

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mygif

I finally saw a set photo of the costume last week and noticed something…unfortunate. You don’t want him to have red trunks, fine. But, if you’re going give him a belt buckle…you should probably give him a belt to go with it…

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mygif

Murc:

I think you’re on to something there. Red Son, for example, is probably one of the most unrelentingly dark stories DC put out since Watchmen. (Alternate working title: “Superman Steamrolls Over Human Civilization”) What a lot of commenters lose sight of, I feel, is that a dark, grim story requires idealism to work. Two kids on a date getting horribly killed by a psychopath is not that remarkable if you assume that anyone out walking at night is gonna get murdered, anyway. Superman and Batman are equal grist for dark stories because they’re both ideal-driven characters — they just have different stories because their ideals are different. Superman deals in cosmic horror whereas Batman deals is urban horror.

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mygif

I wouldn’t describe either Superman or Batman primarily dealing with ‘horror’ as it’s commonly understood to mean, especially not cosmic horror.

If you mean the horror of the human condition, then fair enough.

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mygif

It strikes me that a costume tight enough to show abdominal musculature really, *really* ought to have the red briefs.

Heck, that becomes the new explanation for them – “gee, Ma, this costume you sewed me is fantastic, but it’s so gosh-darned tight… Could we maybe cover up my super-friend with the leftover scraps of the cape?”

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mygif

“Instead, Superman is an ongoing morality play, where every question he must pose himself is ‘is this the right thing for me to do?’”

I just…can’t bring myself to like Superman.

Sure, there’s the “Mary Sue”-esque untouchable perfection of the character, in both power and “morality.” There’s the whole “he’s just not relatable” argument. There’s the whole “If Superman is better than 100 superheroes combined, what reason do they have to exist?” thing.

My main problem with the character, at heart, is the ultimate implication of his might. Super strong, super speed, super scientist (for some friggin’ reason), super quasi-Godhood when you get down to it – the guy could solve all the world’s problems in an afternoon. He could terraform the Gobi and Saharan deserts. He could eradicate any despot, terrestrial or not, in a millisecond. He could end world hunger in perpetuity. He could cure AIDS, cancer, and a number of other maladies.

EVERY Superman fan I’ve ever spoken to indicates that this is the case. Superman (particularly pre-Crisis, if that matters anymore) has the ability to make the world a better place IN PERPETUITY.

And…he doesn’t. He dicks around, fighting the same guys, functionally being the same damn guy.

I think the closest I’ve come to warming up to him is the characterization in “Kingdom Come.”

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mygif

Toby S.: reminds me of the scene in “Lois & Clark” where Clark first models the costume and he’s worried people will recognize him, and maybe he needs a mask. Martha says something along the lines of “it’s not your face they’ll be looking at, honey”. And indeed, the super-briefs are quite prominently filled. Though not to the, eh, lengths of the infamous “super-bulge” shot from this movie.

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Doublefine said on December 4th, 2012 at 3:56 pm

I find myself terrified mostly because we had an argument at work about why he was in handcuffs in this poster. It then segued nicely into an argument over whether or not Superman/Clark Kent would legally be a US citizen or not. . .When did my professional life turn into the Internet?

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SilverHammerMan said on December 4th, 2012 at 4:01 pm

@Matt
You make a good case for why he doesn’t just “solve” the world, but I think if he does that then you run up against the problem of him being seen as a creepy patriarchal figure out to enforce western morals, even moreso than he already is. Basically Superman going out of his way to help people, even if it didn’t wind up being like Red Son, would still be massively creepy. Plus, completely unsustainable as a status quo, which is a problem that most superheroes have when you stop to really think about the implications of their exploits.

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mygif

@SHM – I definitely get why he can’t solve all the world’s problems (chief reason being that there’d be no more stories to tell). I just…can’t connect with the guy. I feel no compulsion toward sympathy or empathy for him, because…well…he doesn’t need it.

I get the appeal, and I like the concept of the character, but he just seems limited as is.

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mygif

Incidentally, screw the fanboys. This movie may as well be called “Michael Shannon Meets Superman” as far as I’m concerned.

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mygif

Open question: Are they doing the whole “Superman’s suit is not a costume, it’s Kryptonian power armor” thing?

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mygif

I think it’d make sense for the costume to be tied to Krypton. Shots I’ve seen have Zod in a similar getup, which may signify some kind of military uniform or widespread Kryptonian aesthetic.

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mygif

Matt: I’ve never like the “he could solve all the world’s problems forever” power levels of Superman, which I think only really was the case in the wackiest instances of the Silver Age where Superman actually *does* do some of this stuff, but of course it’s all fixed by the end of the story for equally nonsensical reasons.

Super-intelligence in particular is only very rarely a trait of Superman; he’s usually no smarter than you’d expect an award-winning reporter for a major Metropolitan newspaper to be (which is still quite a cut above being actively dumb, of course). Obviously, Lex Luthor is far less satisfying as a foil if you make Superman a super-genius as well, even if you make Luthor a super-DUPER-genius to compensate. And most stories have the decency to give him limits that, while modest, are still obvious. Even Superman probably needs to rest now and then, even Superman gets bored, even Superman can’t be in two places at once (even if you had super-speed, it would be extremely tiresome to keep that up), that sort of thing. In some sense, to make Superman “work”, in the end, he still has to be just a guy. Except he’s not just a guy, since he’s incredibly powerful, but… you get my drift.

The debate on why superheroes, especially of Superman’s caliber, should or should not solve all our problems for us has been explored many times (like in the original Squadron Supreme, and to some extent Red Son). It’s an interesting one, but I don’t think that it’s quite far to dislike a character because you think that logically there should be only one outcome to their existence. At the very least it’s not inevitable: you can come up with good reasons why a character like Superman should not or should not want to set himself up as the ultimate savior and/or arbiter of humanity. Which I’m not addressing here, because I’d need to start my own blog and I don’t think I could say anything interesting on the subject that hasn’t already been said by others.

Superman is a bit of a “love him or leave him” character. I can see where the people who just straight up don’t like him are coming from, I just don’t feel the same way. Ultimately, to me, the appeal of Superman is simply this: he’s a guy who has so much power that he could do anything he wants, and he chooses to be fundamentally good. The point is not that it’s so easy and boring for Superman to do good because he has all this power, the point is that it would be even easier for him to not do good. Or do good, but not really try his best, because why should he? Superman has a code of ethics, and you can disagree with it (and the best stories are told when people like Lex Luthor *do* disagree with it), but the point is that in principle, Superman has a choice. He’s not defined by his powers, he’s not (despite what people often claim) a Christ-like figure who’s this supernatural savior. He is, ironically because he’s an immensely powerful alien, deeply human. The challenge for writers is to have this humanity come across, because without it the character really is the boring invincible hero people make him out to be. Superman is a fantastic thought exercise for readers: what if *I* was Superman? Would I do the same thing? Would I even want to? Would I spend more time on things like terraforming the Sahara? Should I? To me, that makes Superman interesting as a character, even though it also never gets old to watch an impossibly strong guy who can fly save a crashing plane. Your mileage may obviously vary.

Wow, I hope I haven’t exceeded the “get your own blog” limit with this.

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mygif

@JM – I get all your points, and I’m glad that the character has been scaled back since the Silver Age silliness. He can be Superman without having to punch planets out of orbit.

“Superman is a bit of a “love him or leave him” character. I can see where the people who just straight up don’t like him are coming from, I just don’t feel the same way.”

Definitely a YMMV situation. And that’s cool. :)

He is at the heart of my favorite ever crossover (Hulk vs. Superman, 1999), so there’s that!

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K-Box in the Box said on December 4th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

While I agree with your specific criticisms of a number of fandom’s reactions to this image, I also think you’re wearing nerd-blinders of your own, because if this really is supposed to be a Superman film to appeal to more than just the die-hards, then who in the general audience (i.e. the people who AREN’T attracted to DC and Marvel’s current grim-and-gritty output of paramilitary adventurism) actually wants to see Superman hated and feared by the world enough that he’s wearing handcuffs in the first place?

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K-Box in the Box said on December 4th, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Yes, the X-Men are hated and feared by the world they’ve sworn to protect, but part and parcel of that is that the X-Men exist in a world in which recognizing the rule of law is in fact explicitly morally wrong, because those laws were created for no other reason than to discriminate against mutants. Thus, even though Wolverine is a conventionally handsome straight white man in the movies, his berserker freak-outs against cops and soldiers and the like are not only permissible, but OBLIGATORY, because him and the kids that he led to safety in X-2 are a metaphor for oppressed minorities whom we’re flat-out told are going to be genocided by powerful people who have the rule of law entirely on their side.

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K-Box in the Box said on December 4th, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Thus, we’re left with a paradox in this image, because unless there’s some sort of Three’s Company-style wacky misunderstanding that’s going on here about something that Superman did or didn’t do that the authorities got the wrong idea about, a Superman who’s going to act in ways that would land him in handcuffs is not going to be a Superman who is docile and obedient enough to agree to don those handcuffs, and a Superman who respects the rule of law enough not to break out of those handcuffs is not going to do the sorts of things that would land him in handcuffs in the first place.

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K-Box in the Box said on December 4th, 2012 at 5:57 pm

If Superman is pulling Golden Age stunts like dropping corrupt plutocrats off buildings to extract their confessions, or even beating the hell out of wife-beaters, then whether you agree with his methods or not, it’s blatantly outside of the bounds of THAT established character for him to meekly say, “Oh, gee, guess I’d better come along quietly, then.”

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K-Box in the Box said on December 4th, 2012 at 5:58 pm

If, on the other hand, Superman really is trying to respect the laws of the land in the course of his do-gooding, and the authorities are STILL slapping handcuffs on him for it, then that means that the authorities in question are either incompetent enough to be misled, or corrupt enough to want to frame an innocent man, and while we can argue about the merits or flaws of placing Superman in such a world, what can’t be argued is that Superman himself becomes WRONG for following the rules when the rules are so far out of whack that even the world’s biggest Boy Scout is going to be treated unjustly.

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K-Box in the Box said on December 4th, 2012 at 6:06 pm

They really can’t have it both ways. A movie-verse system of law and order that deserves to be respected and obeyed to the extent that Superman is in this poster image is not going to slap Tiffany cufflinks on Outer Space Jesus, and a super-powered conscientious objector who’s going to do right unreservedly enough to run afoul of the more corrupt elements of our government and justice system would not be permitted, by HIS OWN MORALS, to be led away and prevented from continuing to do good as he sees fit. Whether his hypothetical actions are judged by the narrative itself to be right or wrong, either way, the only correct in-character response would be for him to break out of those handcuffs.

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Bryan Rasmussen said on December 4th, 2012 at 6:22 pm

“It strikes me that a costume tight enough to show abdominal musculature really, *really* ought to have the red briefs.”

Kryptonian males have a pelvic pouch inside of which the penis is retracted until the moment of copulation. It actually looks like a vagina by the way. You probably don’t want to know what an actual kryptionian vagina looks like though.

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mygif

There’s the whole “If Superman is better than 100 superheroes combined, what reason do they have to exist?” thing.

Because there are ridiculous amounts of problems in the world, and while Superman can do a lot, he can’t do everything. There’s crimes and natural disasters happening constantly around the world; every little thing helps. If Blue Beetle can stop a mugging in Chicago, that gives Superman more time to stop the effect of a tidal wave going on at the same time in Indonesia.

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mygif

why would they show Superman being cuffed? A world that’s so screwed up they think Superman needs to be arrested isn’t worth much in my opinion.

The world should deserve Superman

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K-Box in the Box said on December 4th, 2012 at 7:22 pm

“The world should deserve Superman.”

Also a problem with the X-Men franchise. Yes, there should always be bigots in the Marvel Universe who will hate mutants no matter what, but you can show some signs of progress toward mutant equality without magically waving a wand and having all the humans love mutantkind, especially if mutants really are intended to be a metaphor for racial minorities, who have seen both strides forward and major setbacks in their progress, many of them in recent years, right here in the real world.

By contrast, if the general public of the MU is ALWAYS growing more extreme in their oppression of mutants, then it basically means that Magneto really was right all along, and humanity deserves to be exterminated.

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mygif

Jason the world has never deserved Superman any more than it does Jesus; it’s part of the trope package.
Superman is the savior paladin trope. The fact that a lot of people don’t get either paladins or lawful good is another matter entirely. Kids these days. Now where did that particular ass kicking essay on lawful good go…
Interesting how much people are trying to finds ways to subvert the trope with philosophical lawyering. Reveals far more about the audience than the character.

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K-Box in the Box said on December 4th, 2012 at 7:57 pm

“Jason the world has never deserved Superman any more than it does Jesus; it’s part of the trope package.”

Yes, but the difference is that I don’t believe in Jesus. ;)

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K-Box in the Box said on December 4th, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I’m only slightly kidding. One of the reasons why I never respected Jesus as a character was because he turned the other cheek when a majority of the people he was ostensibly trying to save didn’t deserve it, and when the rules by which he supposedly had to commit such a sacrifice were themselves B.S. To hell with every part of letting yourself be MARTYRED; a REAL hero FIGHTS for the world that he wants to improve, and the people in it whom he wants to save, and a noble savior who dies just to PROVE A POINT is a COWARD, because he’s choosing the easy out of DEATH over the hard day-to-day struggle of FACING LIFE, with all of its attendant challenges.

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mygif

K-Box, a resurrecting character gets to have-his-cake-and-eat-it-too when it comes to painful death and daily struggle.

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K-Box in the Box said on December 4th, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Hh. Point, but only if they (and the narrative itself) acknowledges that death is impermanent in their genre.

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K-Box in the Box said on December 4th, 2012 at 8:21 pm

I’d love to see a superhero film that opened with a character saying, “So, the FIRST time I died …” and have that be one of the genre conventions that’s treated as being totally normal in that reality.

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K-Box in the Box said on December 4th, 2012 at 8:21 pm

That was meant to be a “heh,” by the way, and not a Batman or Rorschach-style “hh.”

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Cole Moore Odell said on December 4th, 2012 at 10:09 pm

I’m not sure how much of your description of Superman would be recognized by Jerry Siegel circa 1938, so it’s difficult to see how you can be so definitive about “written properly.”

That aside, while I see the point you’re making, I don’t think it’s nerd rage to be a little disappointed, after Singer’s dreary picture filled the shelves with unsold Lift and Suffer Superman action figures, that the first real promotional image from the new movie is one of submission in the dark rather than, say, robot punching. “You will believe a man can bow to authority to send a good message about the rule of law and responsible use of power” doesn’t really have the same kick as the old tag line.

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mygif

I’ve never cared much about Superman, but I’m a diehard Clark Kent fan. At least, um… *clears throat* Okay, I’m a bad nerd, I knew Superman first, foremost, and last from Lois and Clark, and that will always be the standard for me. (I have since expanded my experience to include the Donner films, the Animated Series, and some miscellaneous 21st century items for which I do not much care. But it’s always L&C at heart.)

So! With my lack of Superman credentials established… I’ve always been a fan of Clark Kent. The version who is an ordinary Joe at heart and happens to have extraordinary powers. The guy who sometimes has trouble balancing the needs of his life with the needs of his calling. (Why yes, Spidey is my favorite hero; how can you tell?) My biggest disappointment with the 2006 movie was its shortage of Kent. My biggest concern for this movie is the degree and quality of focus on Kent. All else can go hang.

And… people are actually arguing about how Superman could simply snap the cuffs? Isn’t MGK’s point on that topic blindingly obvious to anyone passingly familiar with the character?

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mygif

I’m kind of impressed with how much Henry Cavill looks like the Alex Ross version of the character here. Someone did a lot of work.

And yes, the poster shows Superman in handcuffs that he could normally snap out of in less than a second. That’s not stupid. It is mysterious, which is not a bad thing in either drama or movie advertising.

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RobotKeaton said on December 5th, 2012 at 1:05 am

I’m a big fan of this poster, moreso than any other poster for a big event movie I’ve seen in a long time. It’s almost like a silver age comic cover. You see it and you’re all like “Oh, hey Superman’s in handcuffs. I wonder why.” It immediately makes me more interested in the movie.

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K-Box in the Box said on December 5th, 2012 at 3:09 am

Cole Moore Odell nailed how awful and MORALLY wrong that image is in a single sentence:

“You will believe a man can bow to authority to send a good message about the rule of law and responsible use of power.”

If you are bowing to authority when authority is not right and you have enough power to change that in a serious way, then you are ALWAYS wrong.

The social contract should only EVER be respected to the exact extent that it pays proper respect to US.

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mygif

“If you are bowing to authority when authority is not right and you have enough power to change that in a serious way, then you are ALWAYS wrong.”

Then I guess Superman is always wrong, since he always has enough power. He’d better get busy on overthrowing all the governments out there that are not right, I guess.

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mygif

“If you are bowing to authority when authority is not right and you have enough power to change that in a serious way, then you are ALWAYS wrong.”

And that is why Gandhi, MLK, and their followers were known for resisting arrest.

Just because he’s submitting to the legal system doesn’t mean he’s accepting improper authority – it just means he thinks the system is better used than broken and discarded entirely.

Whether it makes a good story, whether it’s an appropriate response in this case – these depend on a number of factors not here evident. It’s useless to theorize without data…

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@K-Box:
Your whole argument rests on the premise that freedom is more important than peace, and/or that said peace is self-sustaining and should be devoid of any kind of compromise.

Superman may disagree with you; which becomes self-evident once you realize he really does have the power to subjugate humanity, and not only chooses not to but also allows himself to be governed. It’s entirely coherent, even if it comes from a place that you might disagree with.

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Cole Moore Odell said on December 5th, 2012 at 8:17 am

Unlike obviously worthy souls such as Gandhi, MLK and others, Superman has headlined a periodical called Action Comics for nearly 75 years. I have nothing to say in this context about either real-world morality or the movie proper; it’s not possible to know the exact context for this scene’s place in the plot, and I’m sure both it’s justified by events and in keeping with Superman’s sense of decency. But as a piece of marketing, following a film a few years ago marked by Superman’s almost pure reactivity, it’s exactly what I don’t want to see. The supposed mystery of why the world’s strongest man is passively yielding isn’t enough to overcome the inherent inertness of the image, and hence my skepticism that WB still doesn’t understand the wish fulfillment potency of Superman in full-on action. Which is something movie audiences haven’t seen in decades. Maybe the movie will be filled with breathtaking leaps, edge-your-seat action and space gods pounding on each other with the torn-off arm of the Statue of Liberty. But if so, this (along with that abstractly portentious teaser trailer) is an oddly stillborn way to introduce a big action picture to the world. I’m trying to imagine the conversations in the marketing department. “Kids are going to be so jacked for grim scenes of quiet contemplation and noble suffering! Let’s make this image just a little more Last Temptation of Christ-y. Could the lens flare look like a halo or would that be too much?”

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mygif

“You will believe a god can bow to authority to send a good message about the rule of law and responsible use of power.”

Fixed that for you.

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Cole Moore Odell said on December 5th, 2012 at 8:32 am

The worst Superman comic book stories are always the self-conscious ones that ruminate on the character as American Legend or Secular Jesus. I don’t know what color Kryptonite is “foregrounded subtext” but it always kills Superman stories dead. They always come off to me as overly defensive in their overt insistence that Superman is the most important icon of truth and goodness ever. So far this movie is throwing off heavy vibes of that particular form of disappear-up-your-own-backside trait.

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Cole Moore Odell said on December 5th, 2012 at 8:41 am

“Fixed that for you.”

No, wrymsine, I’d say you fixed that for yourself. And incidentally pointed out the insufferable dreariness of it as a hook for an action movie about a guy in a cape who’s famous for being able to do just about anything, and finds himself in the hands of marketers who seem to think the way to reintroduce him to the world is by showing him pointedly doing nothing. I guess he did some fishing in the teaservtrailer. And presumably shaved his beard between cuts. Maybe those count.

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Wooly Rupert said on December 5th, 2012 at 9:26 am

The lens flare is over his shoulder and sorta looks like a cross…ugh.

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What Alegreto said. K-Box, Superman just doesn’t think of himself as so obviously Good and Right that his actions are beyond question or that law should be just a technicality. Which is good, because people with great power believing they’re above question has historically never gone well.
That said, I’m not as dissatisfied with the image and what it bodes for the movie as some commenters, though there’s something to be said for the full-on power fantasy approach mentioned above.

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kingderella said on December 5th, 2012 at 9:27 am

yeah but what are the fake nerds saying about it?

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Yeah. My only concern is that that costume and poster look waaaaaaay too Batmanny.

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Cole Moore Odell said on December 5th, 2012 at 10:04 am

People grooving on the Man of Steel’s power of super-servility must love Frank Miller’s depiction of him in Dark Knight Returns.

I’ve been reading, watching and thinking about Superman for 37 years now—since I was four. While I’ll always love the eccentricities, perversity and world-building of the Weisinger Era, at this point the only version of the character that really makes conceptual sense to me is the Siegel and Shuster original—the impulsive daredevil “Champion of the Oppressed” who punched down corrupt elements of the social order with his fists, a smirk, and the moral certainty available to the earnest teenagers who created him.

The responsible Superman described by MGK is the one I first embraced as a kid in the mid-1970s, a thoughtful protector of the sociopolitical order at the end of the era of 20th century liberal hegemony. But we’re in a different historical moment now, facing massive economic inequality and a Great Recession that have more in common with the era when Superman was first introduced. So I think I’d rather see an almost reckless Superman in that mold again than one who domesticates himself; one who seeks justice above maintaining the rule of law. Not because I think vigilantism is a proper moral model for real-world interaction, but almost precisely because it is not—hence the fantasy.

From the marketing materials released to date, it seems clear to me that WB is more concerned with people knowing that Man of Steel will be “serious” like Nolan’s Batman movies, than in reassuring people that it will actually be any fun. In an environment where Marvel is actually releasing movies to great success where Thor and the Hulk punch each other through flying aircraft carriers, this seems like a mistake to me. Superman may still be able to defy gravity, but I’m not so sure he can slip the bonds of gravitas.

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K-Box in the Box said on December 5th, 2012 at 1:00 pm

“He’d better get busy on overthrowing all the governments out there that are not right, I guess.”

You mean, like he did when Siegel and Shuster portrayed him as overthrowing both Hitler AND Stalin for a feature that was authorized by DC Comics and published in LOOK magazine? Because yeah, those two hacks obviously didn’t understand Superman AT ALL:

http://www.jmberlin.de/comic/bilder/comics/superhelden/bild_1_gross.gif

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@K-Box: oh, come on. You’re seriously using WW2 propaganda as an argument? Every single comic book character was overthrowing Hitler in those days. Little Orphan Annie blew up a submarine. It’s hardly an argument for anything.

Also, Nazis, man. They’re exempt from discussions on good and evil because they’re evil, by definition, especially in comics.

That’s not saying you couldn’t do a Superman story on him overthrowing [insert government of choice here] in modern times. You could. But that’s a far cry from saying that, because Superman can, he should.

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K-Box in the Box said on December 5th, 2012 at 1:53 pm

“Your whole argument rests on the premise that freedom is more important than peace, and/or that said peace is self-sustaining and should be devoid of any kind of compromise.”

The problem is, if we’re justifying Superman in handcuffs by tying it to the imperfections of the real world, then the real world is already simultaneously a place of too little freedom and too little peace, and in fact, those two things, rather than being a CHOICE between freedom and peace, are a PARTNERSHIP between those who wage wars and those who seek to take away our freedoms (see also: damned near everything done in the name of our current “War on Terror”).

The world, as it stands now, is literally a morally INTOLERABLE place of inequity and cruelty, and if your story’s message is that even a SUPERMAN can’t bring us greater measures of freedom and peace than we currently have, without bowing HIS head to those who already wild too much power, and who wield it in all the wrong ways, then there is NO hope for those of us here in the real world WITHOUT a Superman.

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K-Box in the Box said on December 5th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

“That’s not saying you couldn’t do a Superman story on him overthrowing [insert government of choice here] in modern times. You could. But that’s a far cry from saying that, because Superman can, he should.”

As long as you’re condemning me for MY binary absolutism, I’d point out that you can disregard the rules and institutions that are wrong without appointing yourself as the new emperor. For example, I don’t want to see Superman overthrowing the president, whether he’s Bush OR Obama, but if Superman did exist in a world like our own, I would respect him one hell of a lot less if he didn’t use his powers to force our government to either CHARGE the countless people who have been indefinitely detained as part of our “War on Terror” under no pretense greater than being “persons of interest,” or else force their release. Our governments and our corporations and our institutions don’t even see fit to follow the rules that they wrote for themselves, so yeah, when it comes to transgressions like that, if you have the power to change those things and you’re NOT using it, then you’re EVIL. If Jim Crow laws were still on the books, would we seriously be debating whether or not Superman would be wrong to end segregation?

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@K-Box: “If Jim Crow laws were still on the books, would we seriously be debating whether or not Superman would be wrong to end segregation?”

Yes. Yes we would. Of course we would.

Of course we in particular wouldn’t debate if Superman would be wrong to end segregation. We live in a society where it’s accepted that it’s wrong. But if we didn’t live in such a society, then you’d better believe there would be such a debate, because there were such debates, not by Supermen of course, but by men in power nonetheless. This is completely separate from the discussion of whether segregation is wrong in an absolute moral sense. It is, it most definitely is, and I’m really not advocating moral relativism on this, but your question was whether there would be debate, and I’m saying yes.

Now sure, Superman is a comic book character, so why couldn’t he take a forceful stand against segregation if we lived in such a society and we so desired? Well of course he could. To us it would even be the right and proper thing to do. We might even consider Superman evil for not doing the obvious right thing but deferring to the nebulous and clearly fatally indecisive “will of the people”. But it’s really too easy to say “well here’s Right, and here’s Wrong, and here’s how I’d like Superman to act in accordance to what’s Right, please, and if you’re telling any other kind of story, well that’s just stupid”. It smacks too much of “not my Superman” to me.

There are serious problems with Superman and morality, no doubt. If you just make him fight dudes in purple and green who wield Death Rays, people will complain he’s ignoring the actual problems of the world even though he could take a stand on almost any of them. On the other hand, if you have him fight anything or anyone where it’s not universally agreed that it’s the Right Thing to fight for, some people will complain that Superman’s become a juvenile power trip for the author. When he was still exclusively Siegel and Shuster’s character, he arguably was that, and you can legitimately prefer that Superman to the “U.N. with Muscles” approach to Superman. Can we at least agree that there’s multiple approaches to the character, and they’re all valid as long as Superman’s not real?

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K-Box in the Box said on December 5th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

“Can we at least agree that there’s multiple approaches to the character, and they’re all valid as long as Superman’s not real?”

The problem is still, once again, that regardless of which version you prefer, this poster image is mixing its metaphors.

Now, let’s start with what we can agree upon. The Superman who’s “the U.N. with muscles” (I think I’ve heard that phrase before, but kudos to you for remembering it, because it’s a great turn of phrase) would not let himself be led away in handcuffs. Whether he’s right or wrong, we can agree that would be out of character for that version of the character, yes?

So, what we have here, as MGK and everyone else (including me) agrees upon, is a Superman who follows the rule of law to a fault. The problem being, a Superman who follows the rule of law to a fault is not going to get arrested for pulling the sorts of Golden Age stunts which would actually get him arrested in the first place. Ergo, this version of Superman has followed the law but STILL gotten arrested.

And I say again, this means that either a) the movie is going to tell us that Superman is RIGHT to trust in a system of laws that would arrest him when he hasn’t broken the law, or else b) the movie is going to portray Superman as being a servile sap for doing so.

If it’s b), then as Cole Moore Odell said, we’re well into the Frank Miller territory of Superman being a tool OF The Man, and if it’s a), then I’m sorry, beyond any question of what is or isn’t in character for a fictional character, I consider this a wrong message to send.

After all, even the people who founded America created a system of checks and balances to try and ensure that people wouldn’t be too obescient to it, and especially now that the TSA is doing pat-downs so invasive that they’ve literally been legally ruled to be sexual assaults, and both Bush AND Obama have expanded the provisions of the Patriot Act to put the American public in the default position of being presumed guilty until proven innocent, and even then, ha ha, screw you, we can just lock you up without even CHARGING YOU WITH A CRIME for years at a time, the absolute LAST message we should be sending people is that The Law Is Right Even When It’s Wrong.

Yes, there are issues that come up especially strongly in this case because of the unique traits of Superman as a character, but I’d be highly suspicious of ANY modern movie that carried a similar message.

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K-Box in the Box said on December 5th, 2012 at 2:56 pm

“K-Box, Superman just doesn’t think of himself as so obviously Good and Right that his actions are beyond question or that law should be just a technicality. Which is good, because people with great power believing they’re above question has historically never gone well.”

Yes, except that the problem is that, once again, if we’re applying real-world standards, the people who believe that they’re above the law are already IN CHARGE of the law, regardless of who’s in the Oval Office. There’s a difference between killing in cold blood and killing in self-defense, and as far as I’m concerned, any vigilante actions that Superman would be taking that would displease The Powers That Be would automatically qualify as a form of self-defense against a power structure that’s essentially long since gone rogue.

Granted, we’re well removed from the original point by now, but citing Martin Luther King as an example of why it’s better to be peaceable about such protests ignores the fact that the Supreme Court is — right now, as we speak — seriously considering the Voting Rights Act, and thereby allowing states to put their old Jim Crow laws back on the books. Yes, it’s better to be peaceable if possible, but past a certain point, hitting back against the powerful who have hit you is not only morally permissible, but morally obligatory, and it’s worth noting that one of the biggest reasons why Martin Luther King finally got listened to was because Malcolm X was around at the same time, and white America realized, “Well, one way or the other, change is coming, so we can either go with the guy who’s into non-violence, or we can face the guy who’s pledged to bring about change by any means necessary.”

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on December 5th, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Here’s what happens in the movie.

Superman, in an effort to do good, accidentally does something really bad. Being moral, he submits to the authorities.

“But Superman, it was an accident! You were only trying to help!”

“That doesn’t matter, Lois. It doesn’t change the fact that an innocent woman is dead.”

BUT it is all a frame job by the villain and the supposedly dead woman is alive and an underling of the villain and Lois exposes this just in time for Superman to be released and go kick villain ass, rousing final battle, THE END.

Tell me I’m wrong.

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K-Box in the Box said on December 5th, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I mean, bottom line, I feel like MGK’s framing of this poster is more than a bit unfair, because this isn’t about some nit-noid fan-wank B.S. fixation with picayune matters such as whether a superhero I’ve read about in comic books should still be wearing his red underwear on the outside of his costume or whatever.

Rather, this is about my concern, as someone who’s deeply invested in both politics and the media, about the implicit political messages that are going to get sent to the general public — via a heavily promoted film that will no doubt serve as the centerpiece of an attempted multimedia commercial franchise revival — through a character whose iconic status is literally global in scope.

American audiences see Superman as a symbol of What We Should Be, so especially during a post-9/11 era when our government has become increasingly intrusive and dismissive of our rights, it scares the hell out of me that this character, whose built-in skill-set involves having more power to change things for the better than anyone, is (if MGK’s own interpretation is correct) being turned into a role model for Doing As You Are Told.

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@K-Box: but Superman’s a character who, by his very nature, is held to higher standards than the rest of us. So Superman, of all people, would consider being a “servile sap” and allow himself to get led away in handcuffs because he has faith that he’ll get out because people agree he should be released, not because he snapped his cuffs and flew off shouting “I’m innocent, you idiots!”

This is still a long way off from Frank Miller’s “my government right or wrong” depiction of Superman, incidentally, where he was practically on the payroll of the U.S. government (one logical extreme of “the American way”, I guess). You can believe in the rule of law even if you know the law happens to be wrong in this case. It’s not up to Superman to decide “well I know I’m innocent so I’m going to do what no other prisoner can do and just put myself out of reach of the law” — at least not a Superman who believes that arresting people and putting them on trial is the right way to handle guilt and innocence. You seem to be advocating a Superman who doesn’t believe that, and that’s fine, but it’s not the image of the character MGK or I have.

What’s actually more unbelievable and the problem I have with almost all the stories where Superman gets arrested is that he’s friggin’ Superman. If he’s the poster child for upholding the law, in what cockamamie universe would he even get arrested? Who would seriously believe the charges? His bail would probably be “let’s release this guy right now so he can save innocent lives”. That is the unbelievable part, not that Superman wouldn’t comply with law enforcement, even if he knew the charges to be unfounded. In fact, you could have your cake and eat it too by actually having Superman break out of jail because he has to, because staying would mean letting innocent people get hurt. In fact, you’d probably have people rioting in the streets for his release. That would be interesting to see.

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K-Box in the Box said on December 5th, 2012 at 3:36 pm

“Superman’s a character who, by his very nature, is held to higher standards than the rest of us. So Superman, of all people, would consider being a ‘servile sap’ and allow himself to get led away in handcuffs because he has faith that he’ll get out because people agree he should be released, not because he snapped his cuffs and flew off shouting ‘I’m innocent, you idiots!’”

Except that this implicitly assumes, once again, that FOLLOWING the law is reflective of higher moral standards, when in point of fact, I can point to half a dozen real-world examples off the top of my head in which BREAKING the law represented the HIGHER moral standard, starting with the entire abolitionist movement, who knew that slavery was still legal at the time and still said, “To HELL with the law, because the people who OBEY this law are the immoral cowards!”

It also assumes that a) the justice system works and b) the will of the people are reflected in its workings, and when a white man can get away with shooting a black teenager in cold blood under the “Stand Your Ground” law, but a black woman who’s facing down her abusive ex gets TWENTY YEARS merely for firing a WARNING SHOT even after invoking the same damned law, I would assert that it is both factually and morally incorrect to make such assumptions.

“What’s actually more unbelievable and the problem I have with almost all the stories where Superman gets arrested is that he’s friggin’ Superman. If he’s the poster child for upholding the law, in what cockamamie universe would he even get arrested?”

Sadly, I find this all too believable, because if you have a guy who’s powerful enough to rival the government, the military and all the corporations, and he DOESN’T break the law, then he’s actually a GREATER threat to them than if he DOES, because not even the government or the military or the corporations follow their own rules, so a man with the power of a God who held himself to their own standards better than they did would be seen as morally SUPERIOR to those Powers That Be in the eyes of the public. They would HAVE to destroy him at that point.

“Who would seriously believe the charges?”

On the one hand, I agree, but on the other, that’s precisely WHY those charges would be brought against him, because what you’re describing, as Cole Moore Odell said, is Secular Jesus, someone who’s both more powerful AND more TRUSTED than the existing power structure. They would HAVE to kill him.

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Cole Moore Odell said on December 5th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Well, I think we’ve all (and I absolutely include myself) extrapolated a *lot* of thematic and plot material from one image. All of this conjecture about politics and ethics aside, my initial, visceral reaction was one that still sticks with me: this movie kind of looks like a self-important drag, and what’s more, the filmmakers and their marketers obviously intend it to be.

What would have totally saved the image for me–same exact shot, but Superman’s got a George Reeves private-joke grin on his face. I assume it wouldn’t fit with the plot of the actual movie, but I’d have been happy.

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@K-Box: OK, here’s where I politely back away to say “them’s your beliefs, man, I just came to talk about a guy in tights”. In particular, the notion that TPTB would have to destroy Superman because he’s good (and they’re not) is too far out there for me to meaningfully argue against. If that’s what you believe, more power to you, but it doesn’t jell with my convictions, which is that, while certainly some government agents might very well reason this way, the idea that some sort of super-counter-conspiracy a la Legion of Doom would rise up to destroy this man “who came from the sky to do only good” (and how’s that for a Jesus parallel…) is just… no. Not saying they wouldn’t keep a close eye on him, certainly do some research into countermeasures if it came to that, but that’s as far as I’d go.

There’s a reason Lex Luthor is a supervillain, and not the President of the United States… well, I guess I’ve argued myself in a corner with that one since he was President in the comics of course. :-) But my point is that anyone who would attack Superman only because they can’t stand the fact that he’s morally superior slides into comic book supervillainy. Any politician worth his salt would make sure to associate themselves with Superman only in positive ways, because it’s useful to do so. Let the guy save the world — if he also believes in the law, what would you have to fear from him? Just say you’re democratically elected and he’ll back off, unless of course you really do have a death ray in your office.

You won’t hear me argue that the system as a whole isn’t flawed, and that it can’t be fatally flawed at any given point in time. I don’t think you’d hear anyone argue that, not Superman either. I could see a Superman who violates the law because the law is manifestly at odds with certain universal standards of decency that we’d attribute to Superman, and because he knows the will of the people would be on his side. The question is then only one of degree: do you think Superman beating up slum lords falls under that or not? That sort of thing, you can argue about.

But one such a standard would certainly not be that Superman, because he is good and does good to a degree greater than the government, should not be arrested. If Superman was arrested he couldn’t resist arrest without saying “I have the absolute right to say when your government is right and when it’s wrong”. And if there’s anything I firmly believe Superman is not about, it’s about asserting moral superiority. Even if, as far as we’re concerned, he would be right to do so. Superman will subject himself to our laws because he believes in us, and because he wants us to believe in us. If we cannot free an unjustly arrested Superman, then Superman will not do it for us.

Now I always rail against people who dismiss Superman as a Jesus allegory because it’s wrong in so many ways, but I do realize I’ve come really close to, indeed, portraying him as a “secular Jesus”… since Jesus was very much like this too — “forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do”. In this case, though, my opinion is “to hell with it”. If my Superman is like Jesus in this regard, then more power to him. (In the interest of full disclosure, I say this as a lifelong atheist.)

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Cole Moore Odell said on December 5th, 2012 at 4:54 pm

If you look at the original run of Superman stories, the character always does what he came to do, then leaps away before anyone has a chance to address him, let alone arrest him. He’s a figure of pure action and a force of nature. You can’t arrest the hurricane, and he has no intention of letting you. And the stories, being what they were, didn’t stop to dwell on it. His utter disregard for the cops was part of the appeal. They weren’t cast as fools or knaves, they just couldn’t keep up. This is something Miller got very right about the core of the superhero idea in DKR–Batman acts, moves on, and leaves the impotent talking heads on TV to endlessly argue about what it means. Placing Superman in a serious story about the ethical dilemmas and moral limits of unlimited power (or at least a big enough part of the story that you’d foreground that element in an initial promotional poster) seems to me to missing the fun of the concept, which is that he’s a high-speed avatar of righteous action. But as said above, there are lots of valid interpretations of the character.

This entire conversation about Superman allowing himself to be arrested to uphold the law–which has by now become unmoored from the movie poster–is reminiscent of Batman’s decision to take the blame for Harvey Dent’s murder spree at the end of Nolan’s Dark Knight–as a hero, he’ll take the fall in order to perpetuate an abstract ideal. Again, this parallel with that other movie series (even if it exists purely at the level of the image and we’re all blowing hot air about what it really represents) isn’t a coincidence.

Back to the original post, one of the biggest problems I have with the poster is that it subverts the reboot. You can only react to it as the studio wants you to–Why did Superman get arrested?–if you already know who he is, what he stands for and what he can do. It demands that the viewer haul out all of their preconceived baggage about Superman in order to call it into question. I was hoping for more of a blank slate approach.

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FWIW, I agree with you that you shouldn’t take the fun out of Superman by overthinking the character — at least not in a movie, where we want to believe a man can fly, dammit. I’m not clamoring for a 2-hour snorefest where we primarily get to see Superman sit around in court while people argue around him. (Or, for that matter, a movie where we get to consider the important issue of whether or not he’s a deadbeat dad.) It’s great to discuss interpretations on the internet and all, but I’ll take a brightly colored circus strongman who beats up a robot army over a ponderous philosopher who narrates to himself on his moral failings or lack thereof any day of the week.

The thing I can’t get over… Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Really? I think I want to see it now if for no other reason than to see how that works out. If you asked me for any suggestion on an actress to play Lois Lane, Amy Adams (alliteration aside) wouldn’t even be in my first half hour of suggestions. I love Miss Adams dearly, but I couldn’t think of a greater contrast.

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So is there an over/under on how many minutes Snyder goes before insinuating that Zod is gay? Because I’m willing to manage the pool on this one.

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Superman is a man who would go out of his way to defy an unjust law, like Jim Crow laws, however a law that he felt was correct but misapplied would result in him surrendering to authorities.

Especially since if there was ever a situation where Lex Luthor had the ability and a reason to have Superman arrested for B & E it’d draw attention to something Superman wanted known.

He also wouldn’t want an honest police officer to look bad, or to risk someone shooting at him and there being a riccochet off him.

My point wasn’t how Superman would react to the law, my point was how the law would react to Superman. Showing him cuffed on the poster suggests something about how he’s treated and it’s not a good thing.

Superman should be a guy people are willing to defy orders for, much like Captain America. He should be a guy who people trust. People who favor deporting every illegal immigrant, no matter what? 95% of them are cool with Supes not being born here.

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philippos42 said on December 5th, 2012 at 7:16 pm

The law, in reality, works on imperfect information. Sometimes the system works to acquit an innocent man, but still locks him up meantime.

The more powerful Supes is portrayed, the more likely that portrayal is to submit like this to authority, not so much where it is evil, but where it is mistaken. Because he knows he can get away later.

And I don’t think it really is illegitimate to occasionally go with, “You will believe a god can bow to authority to send a good message about the rule of law and responsible use of power.” (Thanks, wyrmsine!) There should be other stories where Supes is kicking ass for social justice–& maybe this movie is missing a bet not making him a terrifying crusader against the Washington establishment–but the image is not illegitimate in itself.

Supes is a known concept, and this can function like an old comic-book cover, selling the subversion of expectation to get butts in the seats.

In any case, I like the design theory on this. It’s deliberately going hard in the opposite direction from the garish colors and smooth textures of the Chris Reeve and Dean Cain versions. That’s possibly for the good, even if I suspect, like the JMS/Jim Lee Wonder Woman redesign, it would have been more au courant ten years ago.

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I’d just like to point out that we know a great deal more about Superman than the people in his own world do. There, it seems perfectly reasonable after he’s dropped a boat full of criminals in the street in front of a police station for somebody to say, hey, that’s kind of a vigilante thing, this guy should at least see the inside of a courtroom for a couple minutes to explain himself.

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K-Box in the Box said on December 5th, 2012 at 8:11 pm

“But my point is that anyone who would attack Superman only because they can’t stand the fact that he’s morally superior slides into comic book supervillainy. Any politician worth his salt [...]”

Have you SEEN the modern state of politics? We had at least half a dozen serious candidates for NATIONAL-level office who couldn’t even get more than a mild slap on the wrist from their own party when they argued that RAPE IS A GOOD THING. So many modern politicians are so one-dimensionally stupid and insane and evil that they make the villains from a Captain Planet episode look NUANCED by comparison.

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Cole Moore Odell said on December 5th, 2012 at 9:05 pm

@Philippos42: Given that the last Superman movie showed him only lifting things and being a creepy ex-boyfriend, and the one before that versus Nuclear Man gave us the debut of Repair-The-Great-Wall-Of-China-Vision, and the one before that had Richard Pryor, and the one before that had the power-erasing sex chamber in the Fortress plus a weird giant S-Shield villain wrapper, my strong expectation has been that whatever Superman movie they come up with will probably not be great. So far, that hasn’t been subverted. I’ll be happy to be wrong.

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“We had at least half a dozen serious candidates for NATIONAL-level office who couldn’t even get more than a mild slap on the wrist from their own party when they argued that RAPE IS A GOOD THING.”

None of them said that. One evinced bizarre ideas about how anatomy works, another voiced his belief in a very strong form of predestination, etc.

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SilverHammerMan said on December 5th, 2012 at 9:38 pm

@Burke
That’s true, but as viewers we know that Superman is a good guy. Reboot and fresh start or not, Superman is as iconic as Santa Claus, so it’s impossible for us to go into this and think that the authorities aren’t being idiots.

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@John Seavey

“Oh yes Kal, KNEEL before me!”

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Agree with pretty much everything you say except I couldn’t care less about the lack of red briefs. I always felt Supes penchant for wearing his underwear outside his pants to be a bit weird.

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K-Box in the Box said on December 6th, 2012 at 7:43 am

“None of them said that. One evinced bizarre ideas about how anatomy works, another voiced his belief in a very strong form of predestination, etc.”

If your religion preaches that God is good, then arguing that women who are raped should be forced to bear those babies because God wanted them to get pregnant is pretty manifestly arguing that “rape is good.”

… But we’re WELL off-topic now. :)

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Ian Wright said on December 6th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

@peyton “I always felt Supes penchant for wearing his underwear outside his pants to be a bit weird.”

Kryptonian daily wear for men includes brightly coloured Please-Look-At-My-Crotch trunks. Clark Kent of Smallville Kansas may not like it, but if he’s going to wear Kryptonian clothes as part of his disguise he doesn’t have much choice.

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Halloween Jack said on December 6th, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Matt: Much of what you raise was addressed by Alan Moore’s final Miracleman arc in which the title hero, who is pretty much Superman-league, does in fact apply himself to war, poverty, famine, etc. and ends them all… with the result that the world doesn’t resemble ours all that much. (Moore’s successor on the title, Neil Gaiman, seemed to be gearing up to explore some of the more dystopian aspects of that world, but the title ended and has been mired in lawsuits for some time, although that may be changing.)

Also, WRT the cuffs, they’re not so much objectionable as simply ridiculous. To someone called “The Man of Steel”, plain steel handcuffs are about as useful as cuffs made of bacon. They could at least do up some of those big roast-sized shackles that you see superstrong types restrained by in the comics.

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I keep wondering what this thread might have been like if MGK hadn’t used the first part of his post to run down nerds who disagreed with him. What’s with the whole “I’m not the nerd, YOU’RE the nerd!” thing that’s infecting the entire blogosphere?

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I didn’t realize that agreeing with MGK meant I was signing away my status as a nerd.

I guess that “Fake Geek Girl” shirt I just bought was more accurate than I ever expected…

(not enough eye-roll in the world)

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I apologize if this has been said already, but before Crisis on Infinite Earths Superman used to talk a lot about how he couldn’t interfere too much in the development of the human race. So, that was why he didn’t do things like using his knack for creating life-like androids to give everybody robot butlers or patenting Kryptonian tech that would let people have flying cars and ray guns and stuff.

Pre-COIE, Superman was definitely a supergenius all-around mad scientist type in addition to everything else. His army of Superman robots and the Phantom Zone projector he built when he was in high school are just two obvious examples. That’s part of why he was so patronizing to the bad guys. He would always be like, “Nice try, but here are six reasons why your plan never would have worked. Two of which you would have realized if you paid more attention in eighth grade science classes.”

That’s one of the reasons why I found the “Man of Steel” reboot so refreshing. Superman was resourceful enough to save the day, but it wasn’t like he could have solved most of society’s problems if he took a couple of days off from the Daily Planet.

Before ’85? He was extremely god-like except for occasionally having a hard time understanding women. And he was often a total douche about it. They didn’t really find a way to make that version of Superman likable until the Seventies.

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djangomucks said on December 7th, 2012 at 4:18 pm

@kbox Superman can legitimately submit to arrest if he beleives the trial will give him a meaningful opportunity to exonerate himself to the law and/or to the public.

A legal system can suspect and arrest you for something you’re guilty of and still be just; it becomes unjust if it convicts you. That suspicion can even arise from some reasonable basis, but even if the suspicion/arrest are illegitimate it’s not implausible for Superman to believe he can win at trial.

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djangomucks said on December 7th, 2012 at 4:34 pm

In fact it’s not even implausible that the adversary’s strategy could depend on Superman refusing to be arrested. As I think the above comments demonstrate, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to have an enemy of Superman’s that simply doesn’t believe or even ever consider that someone as powerful as Superman would ever allow himself to be subjected to the due process of law, from which he then creates a situation where Superman submitting to arrest and trial is his best option for undermining the plan against him.

I obv don’t know if that’s the movie Scott Snyder is making, but it’s a movie somebody could make (and generate that poster from) without betraying anything inherent to the character.

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mygif

I tend to think of it as equivalent to the rule that Chris Rock can use the n-word in his routines and Jeff Foxworthy can’t.

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@MGK

Because Chris Rock is funny?

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mygif

Isn’t the main crux of Superman that he isn’t 100% sure that he’s going to be morally right all the time, and the fact that he can impose his absolute will on anybody means that he probably shouldn’t? A lot of people believe that laws that are just are unjust, and Superman doesn’t want to be on the wrong end of that stick, which is why he follows the human laws of the time.

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mygif

Hey, way to miss my point, Peyton, which was if MGK hadn’t intitially framed this post as an attack, which he didn’t need to do, maybe the majority of the repsonses would be so defensive.

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Mario Di Giacomo said on December 9th, 2012 at 10:14 am

I know this is coming late to the party, but regarding the theory that the best Superman stories are dark….

ALL-STAR SUPERMAN. Full stop.

A story that deals with tragedy and loss, and has the main character confronting his own mortality, and STILL has an optimistic tone to it.

Hell, I don’t think he’s depicted in shadow at any time during the entire series. But EVERY pic of Superman coming out of this movie is dark, dingy, and “realistic”.

I’d rather have this:

http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110318104430/marvel_dc/images/a/a2/Superman_All-Star_Superman_001.jpg

Or this:

http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/IantistarI/10fd856d.jpg

Than this:

http://comicbook.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/man-of-steel-magazine.jpg

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Mario Di Giacomo said on December 9th, 2012 at 10:20 am

Use this instead of the last link. It sems to be crashing Firefox.

http://comicbook.com/blog/2012/12/07/man-of-steel-magazine-and-mystery-comic/

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